IELTS TOEFL or PTE: What is the difference?
One of the most common questions I have come across with students trying to apply abroad is which of the three English test should one take and what is the difference between the three. So today we discuss about what is the difference between the three tests and which one should you choose : IELTS TOEFL or PTE.
IELTS – International English Language Testing System is world’s proven English test. It tests student based on four categories reading, writing, speaking and listening. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment through more than 1,000 test centers and locations in over 140 countries. It is most widely accepted English language test. It is accepted by around 9000 different organisations worldwide. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The listening, reading and writing tests are done in one sitting. The speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests. The speaking test is taken by a rater from the local testing site.
TOEFL – Test Of English as Foreign Language is another widely know test for the English language and is helpful in your journey in an English-speaking country. Similar to IELTS it also tests your english language skills on the four parameter namely reading, writing, listening and speaking. It has almost 50 test dates in a year. You can take the test any number of time, but you cannot take it more than once in a 12-day period. Unlike IELTS you have all the tests in one day. Another difference you have in TOEFL from IELTS is that, the speaking test results are evaluated by three to six ETS raters. The results are thought to be more objective and reliable. The entire TOEFL test session (including check-in) is approximately 4½ hours. The test itself is 4 hours. Check-in time is 30 minutes.
PTE – Pearson Test for English was launched by Pearson in 2009 and is relatively new testing system for English language. But in a short time it has become known among several universities. They are approved by the Australian Government for visa applications and accepted by thousands of institutions in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland, including Harvard, Yale and INSEAD. The categories of evaluation are still the same as above two – reading, writing, speaking and listening.
An IELTS examiner evaluates the speaking abilities of the candidates by making live conversation, which indeed is recorded in some recording device. But in PTE and TOEFL , there is no live conversation and candidate has to speak to a microphone for getting recorded in a computerized system. A computer program then evaluates the speaking and rates the test taker. The IELTS being completely paper based uses diagram, graph or chart for the writing section. On the other hand, PTE & TOEFL are totally computer based and thus uses many innovative techniques to test writing capabilities of the candidate.
IELTS has set time for each paper, and candidates can move forwards and backwards whereas PTE has section timings and can move forward only. Another difference among the three is that PTE promises to deliver the result in a span of 5 days, whereas in TOEFL & IELTS you receive the result after 10 days. Printed score reports are mailed approximately 13 days after your test date for both the exams.
All the three tests provide reading material for the preparation which you can order through their sites. In IELTS candidates receive scores on a Band Scale from 1 to 9 in each section. The four individual scores are averaged and rounded to produce an Overall Band Score. In TOEFL you are scored from 0-30 in each section and the total score is 0- 120. The PTE Academic Score Report includes your overall score, communicative skills scores and enabling skills scores. The score is based on performance on all items in the test. The range for the overall score is 10-90 points. It displays score in a graphical form on the score report giving a quick view of the straight and weaknesses.
The general observation has been that the IELTS score are more acceptable in Europe and Australia and TOEFL is generally demanded in USA. PTE still being a new testing system is spawning and is acceptable by most of the universities.
The test you take also depends on what your university asks for. There might be specific instructions to take a particular test by the university as an English language proof but according to my experience most of them accept IELTS & TOEFL. PTE is readily accepted by MBA colleges worldwide.
Therefore, I would insist on you to select the country and university you want to apply to, check the requirement and then choose the test you want to take.
Here I am, wishing you all the best with your applications and language test.